Partnering with the Y for new pool not an option: City

BY BILL PHILLIPS

bill@pgdailynews.ca

Relocating the Four Seasons Pool to property next to the YCMA of Northern B.C. and partnering with that organization was considered, but dismissed, says city manager Kathleen Soltis.

“We don’t believe that (partnering with the YMCA) would relieve the pressures on the city,” Soltis said during a digital townhall meeting Wednesday evening. “What the Y has in mind, their facility is aging as well, so they would be looking at replacing it.”

The Y, she said, was looking at a combined pool/gymnasium facility in the downtown.

“The capital costs of a project like that would be considerably higher than the capital costs of replacing the Four Seasons Pool,” he said.

The model the YMCA uses for operating pools is different than the city’s in that it uses volunteers and a different pay scale. In addition, she said, there is a concern that the city might be seen to be operating a gym, which would be competing with private sector gyms.

The digital townhall was part of the city’s public engagement leading up to an October 28 referendum seeking approval from the electorate to borrow up to $35 million to build a new pool on the Days Inn property across the street from the existing pool.

Mayor Lyn Hall said there is no comparison between what the city is proposing and a new pool being built in Vanderhoof at a cost of $12 million.

“We’re a much bigger municipality than Vanderhoof,” said Hall. “Vanderhoof certainly wouldn’t see 120,000 visits per year in their pool like we do.”

He added the city is looking a replacing the Four Seasons Pool with a similar sized pool, saying Vanderhoof doesn’t need that capacity. He said the Four Seasons Pool and the Aquatic Centre are near capacity now.

“To downsize the pool, certainly wouldn’t suffice, wouldn’t service the market that we have,” he said.

Architect Doug Wournell of Dialogue Design, agreed.

“The size of the Vanderhoof pool, in comparison, is less than half,” he said. “Everything from the size of the tanks to the change rooms are much smaller.”

In addition to the $35 million to build the new pool, there will be an additional cost of about $4.5 million to purchase the Days Inn property and $2.5 million to demolish both the existing Four Seasons Pool and the Days Inn. Should the referendum be successful, the Days Inn property would be purchased in early December.

Design costs for the pool will be about 10 per cent of the total costs, or roughly $3.5 million.